Went out with a buncha folks tonight to see a screening of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan at Fox. I enjoyed Sasha Baron Cohen’s portrayal of the anti-semetic Kazakhstani reporter Borat Sagdiyev, and his journey across America. Part documentary, part fictional narrative, the film blurs the lines between staged situations and reality-show moments as Cohen’s alter-ego begins his journey in New York, and is smitted with Pamela Anderson after seeing a rerun of “Baywatch” at the hotel. From there, he’s determined to drive across America to find (and marry) her. Along the way, Borat encounters some very real-world people, who don’t know it’s all a character – and open up to him in the most unlikely and surprising of ways.
From a “comedy expert” in New York City, to a driving instructor, a car salesman, a rodeo, a news broadcast, a Jewish bed-and-breakfast, an inner city gang, drunken fratboys, an evangelical assembly, and the most disturbing scene ever filmed involving naked wrestling, Borat finally gets to California where he seeks out his beloved Pamela. The film is downright hysterical – but that doesn’t necessarily make it a “good movie”. I found that while I was laughing incredibly hard (and having a fun time), many elements of the movie felt like they were just absurdist extensions of what we’ve seen on HBO’s “Da Ali G Show”, where the Borat personality was forged.
Ultimately, this movie is going to do gangbusters, and it’s funny and offensive as hell – but don’t feel too obligated to rush to theaters to see it. Home video will do just fine.